Museum of Civilization plans its storage needs

The Canadian Museum of Civilization Corp. is upgrading its storage capabilities as it continues a project that will see the more than five million items in its collection captured electronically.

The CMCC Tuesday said it

had chosen Computer Associates’ BrightStor Storage Resource Management (SRM) product as part of a seven-year outsourcing deal it struck with CA’s Canadian services unit. Gordon Butler, the museum’s chief information technology officer, said the project to “”digitize”” its collection demanded that the CCMC do a better job of forecasting its storage needs.

“”People think that storage is cheap, but the whole backup and management of that is a costly venture,”” he said. “”We needed to have more predictive capabilities, so that we could make sure we have the capacity when we need it and not run into bottlenecks.””

Until recently, watching for those bottlenecks was primarily a manual process, with staff “”eyeballing”” for potential trouble spots. As that process is automated, Butler said the museum has begun to distinguish between “”natural”” and “”aberrant”” growth. In the case of a recently-completed digitization of newspapers from the Second World War, for example, the growth was natural. In other cases, staff may be ineffectively using disk space or “”stovepiping”” in multiple areas.

“”We’ve found bottlenecks snuck up quite quickly,”” he said, adding that BrightStor’s backup and restore features provides a comfort level as the digitization project proceeds. “”We need to have that confidence as we move ahead.””

Robert Lutton, head of CA Technology Services Canada, said BrightStor will offer the museum a centralized view of what their ongoing requirements are, who are their top users — and the worst offenders. In delivering services to the museum, the on-site CA Technology Services team expects to save approximately 900 person hours in storage administration costs over the next two years.

“”They need to know it’s backed up, restored, and because of huge growth, they’re looking at trending, which they never had before,”” he said. “”We’re actually part of that planning cycle.””

Butler said on average, museums have only five per cent of their collections on display at any given time. This makes their understanding of their storage needs and the promotion of digitization across the industry all the more important.

“”By its nature a museum collects; it retains,”” he said. “”If 95 per cent is not available to the general public, the ability to digitize content is a huge opportunity.””

Besides handling day-to-day storage operations, CA’s other responsibilities include the museum’s help desk and provisioning its Web servers.


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